Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

November 15, 2013

Chamber taking gift certificates off this year’s list

By SARAH ROSE
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW —

After about 25 years of use, the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce gift certificates have been suspended.

Executive Vice President of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce Ernie Myers said the final decision came after problems occurred with TeleCheck, a machine used by merchants that electronically accepts and declines checks.  

“The TeleCheck system and the gift certificates have become non-compatible to a certain degree,” Myers said. “But the truth is, we were being charged more than what the gift certificate was for...We were being charged, for instance, a double charge on the check. If we issued a $25 dollar check, we’re charged $50. And it’s just because of the manner in which TeleCheck or a cashier would enter these checks in. I have never had that happen on my personal account, but it was happening with increasing frequency on this account.”

There were also other reasons they decided to shelthe program, he said.

“Year after year after year, it has cost the chamber a pretty good amount of dollars and especially in time,” Myers said. “We have to print each one of these one at a time. We use an accounting system... If you had a company which did a thousand of those checks at one time, it takes about two days to print all those out. So it’s one person, two days, doing nothing else.

Myers said the gift certificates were used to help keep business in Glasgow and Barren County.

“Those certificates basically are checks, just regular checks with a bank routing number on them, which can be used at any establishment in Glasgow and Barren County.” Myers said. “[The businesses] are guaranteed payment through the chamber’s account at South Central Bank.

“The truth is that many of our larger employers in town used this method to do Christmas gifts for their employees. So around Christmastime, we would issue around $150,000 dollars in these gift certificates.”

Becky Barrick, owner of Awards Incorporated in Glasgow, said the gift certificate program was successful.

“Well, I know the people who spent them with us were really glad to have them,” Barrick said. “I’m sure it’s going to have some type of impact on Christmas shopping, but it’s too early to tell what that will be. I don’t really know the amount that was sold, but we had several [gift certificates] come through the shop.”

Jackie Nuckols, owner of Unique Gifts in Glasgow, said she was excited that her store could accept them.

“I think it generates interest in Barren County to keep your money in Barren County and I’m just disappointed that they aren’t going to be issued this year.” Nuckols said. “To me, it’s very important to try to shop local to keep the local businesses  afloat. I think [the certificates were] a contributing for that.”

According to a chamber press release, the “Chamber Gift Certificates that have been issued will continue to be honored as long as the date on the certificate has not expired.”

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